Update on the Sheepherder Hill Fire on Casper Mountain, Wyoming.
(Click on a photo to view slide show)
Extreme. Erratic. Unpredictable.
That’s what they call the kind of fire behavior seen in these photos.
Definitely life threatening. Firefighters can’t be sent into this kind of scenario. The fire is literally making its own weather. Just look at those clouds of water vapor and ash. They must be a mile high. Mushrooming, boiling clouds that just keep coming.
The morning news estimated the fire at 500 acres, by 3:30 it is estimated at 10,000 acres. A twenty-fold increase in less than ten hours.
Awe. Astonishment. Fear. Heartbreak.
I feel all these emotions as I watch Casper Mountain burn. Wildland fires have a strange beauty all their own. The sheer overwhelming power demands respect. The understanding that many people are losing homes inspires compassion.
I know. I know. The vegetation will regenerate. The march of succession will begin on the heels of the fire, but this is my back yard, one of the places I go to feel the quiet of stately trees and enjoy the manifold textures and colors of nature.
And it’s going to be a long, long time until it’s forest again.